Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


GenCon First Day

Green Ronin had a pretty good day today as the hall opened but the day had to start very early as we had to get into the hall at the crack of dawn to finish the massive set-up that still needed to be done. With so many of us unable to arrive before last night, there just wasn't a way to get everything set up in time. The hall opened at 9am for some sort of VIP tour or something but as far as I could tell they were letting all sorts of people in, many of whom were pestering me before I had the cash register properly programmed or who wanted to buy things while we were clearly still setting things up in the booth area. I know for a fact I pissed off a couple of people by telling them that I could not help them until after 10am but it couldn't be helped.

I was feeling pretty good until I had a bad encounter with some really gross salad at the Champions at the Marriott. Within the hour I was ill from it (and thankfully managed to get back to feeling better pretty promptly once purged) but that little episode certainly did put a damper on the afternoon.

Had a dinner engagement tonight so I wasn't able to head to Fantasy Flight's premier of the Midnight movie over at the Imax and after dinner was just feeling extremely fatigued and out of sorts so I skipped straight back to the hotel and plan to hit the sack as soon as I finish up my blogging. I hate to miss one of my precious nights for GenCon socializing but I'll regret it tomorrow if I don't get some decent rest (and some non-boozy fluids). As we're rolling into the ENnies, I don't want to risk not being able to enjoy the event... so early to bed it is.

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Annual GenCon Technology Meltdown

Sorry for the abrupt departure, my laptop decided to die several little tiny deaths while at GenCon. Randomly freezing up, randomly restarting itself, randomly giving me a blue screen and spewing messages about memory dumps and "contact your administrator" ans so on. Stupid anti-technology aura...

Summary: GenCon was great, the ENnies voters were incredibly generous to us again this year and we're buoyed for another year. The response to our Hobby Games: the 100 Best book was incredible and people seemed very happy with Paragons, Pirate's Guide to Freeport, and the other items we had at the show. Oh, and Indianapolis still smells like piss.

My red-eye flight TO Indy went exceptionally well but I paid for it in my trip home this morning. Chris seems to be suffering as well, though we were on separate flights and he's not made it home yet so I don't have full details.

In my case I'm pretty sure when I booked my ticket I did NOT pick the middle seat in the very last row of the plane, next to the toilets. Somehow, that's where I ended up, though. And since everyone on the plane was coming from GenCon with giant bags of stuff, I couldn't put my carry-on anywhere but at my feet which meant I couldn't recline and I couldn't stretch my legs for the entire flight. Chris was jealous that I had a non-stop flight, but it was non-stop suffering. Especially since one of the guys sitting next to me was on the large side so that he overflowed into my seat, used both armrests, and generally crowded me the entire time. I know he wasn't trying to crowd me but it still wasn't a pleasant experience. It got worse when he turned on his headphones and even over the noise of the engines, the noise of the flight attendants crushing ice and whatnot, the noise of the three new BFFs in the seats across the aisle who talked and played card games together for the entire 4 hour and 40 minute flight... even over all of that other background noise I could hear this guy's music. Clearly.

So, I decided it was time to listen to my own stuff and loaded up an audiobook on the ol' iPod Nano (Ol' being figurative as I've not even had it a year...) and turned on the noise-canceling earbuds I bought this year. Except my iPod never even got to play the first word of my new audiobook! Nope, it froze between screens and wouldn't do anything else, not even shut down. My hefty neighbor offered to "help" but after prodding it uselessly a couple of times he handed it back to me with a "sorry". I tried to fire up the handful of songs I keep on my Palm for emergencies like this, but no go. Something's wrong with that program and the songs couldn't be found, blah blah. I'm growing more desperate so I struggle my laptop out and see if I can fire it up, plug in the iPod and maybe get it to reset. As I'm struggling to use the computer in the small space I'm provided, my neighbor pipes up again to suggest that if I have the cable for the iPod I could do what it is that I'm dong. I tried not to be rude but I was really NOT in the mood. Sitting crosswise in my seat with one arm wrapped around myself as if I was trying to put myself into a headlock or something, I was finally able to get the laptop fired up and connect the iPod but it made no difference. I had iTunes on the laptop but no music loaded, so I couldn't even listen to something that way... which was for the best I suppose since after 10 minutes of running on battery power (and despite having been constantly plugged in at the hotel for almost a week) it warned me that I had no battery power left and demanded to be shut down.o

At that point I gave up. My anti-technology aura was in full effect and I did not want to bring the whole plane down, as it was packed with WotC, WizKids, Privateer, Green Ronin and other unknown game industry professionals. Could have decimated the game industry in one blow!

I also discovered that Northwest now only offers food if you pay them $5 for a "snack pack". The flight was almost five hours long and they didn't offer so much as a complimentary pretzel. Lame and lamer.

The airport was a madhouse today, with luggage for four or five Northwest arrivals all coming through on one baggage carousel. After a very long wait for my suitcase I got out to the cab line and it was a mile long. I didn't even try, just went over to Shuttle Express and miraculously, that only took 20 minutes or so (people I knew from my flight were still standing in the cab line). Another 20 minutes and I made it home. Now just waiting on Pramas. I left him a message on his cell phone to warn him about the cab line and whatnot. He was scheduled to be on the ground by now but with our luck today, who knows?

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GenCon Evening

Booth traffic was constant and busy throughout the day with a few occasional well-needed lulls. Had another fabulous day. Funnily enough, had something of a run on True20 products and several people came up to ask me how GR felt about the 4E announcement. Attended the so-called "WotC/Publishers" meeting, where we found out that many people (self described "not publishers") were attending because of their eagerness to find out what was going on with 4E and the D20 license. More on that when I've had a chance to digest.

Dinner in the Marriott restaurant, found out that you get Marriott points for eating in the restaurants! Score! Wish I'd known that prior to the other two meals I've eaten here, but whatever... good to know. I'm SO into my Marriott points. The Marriott has never failed to treat me like a queen.

ENnies in half an hour... better get ready.

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GenCon 2007 Day 1

Opening Day. Apparently we have things people want to buy as we had the best first day of GenCon ever and two products have yet to show up.

Hobby Games: the 100 Best are on the table, though, and it looks sweet. Authors have been coming by to pick up their copies here at the show and between that and the excited response we've had to the Wild Cards announcement, I've been pretty darn pleased.

The announcement of 4E has been met with mixed reaction so far. Lots of excitement about the digital initiative and the online tools from some but less excitement about the subscription model and the retail/distribution chain is rightly skeptical that this is going to do anything good for their business models. Guess we'll see. GR has been making plans for some time now based on the signs we'd been seeing and so I'm fairly unconcerned about the impact any WotC 4E events will have on those plans. It's been a bit like those Dogfights they reenact on the History Channel, where everything moves so fast you can't actually target the other jet... you have to calculate and target ahead of where you think the other jet is going to be by the time you can get your bullets there. Not that we're shooting bullets at WotC, but it has been a couple of years of looking ahead and trying to predict.

Wish I could write more but I have to run to the bank again before the hall opens. We're desperately short on small bills... and I still need coffee. Oh how I need coffee.

GenCon = Awesome so far. Having a great time. Laughing myself to tears.

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No Plan Survives...

In Indianapolis. Yesterday was a pretty good day all things considered. I flew in on a red-eye flight in order to be here for "Trade Day" which was originally advertised to GenCon exhibitors as taking place on Wednesday afternoon. By the time I arrived Wednesday morning, this had been whittled back to an hour on Thursday. This meant that three of us had come in earlier than we needed to (kind of a bummer, I would have skipped the red-eye, for example) but it was also good in that it allowed us to have the entire day to set up without rush or worry.

We originally were supposed to have nine new products on the table here at GenCon but inevitably things go wrong. Two of our products were mistakenly sent to Ft. Wayne instead, so we hope they will be here (where they should be) by tomorrow morning. Two other products are still on their way but I expect them today, perhaps even this morning. All in all, things definitely could have gone worse with the product flood.

Last night we planned to have dinner at India Garden but discovered it has closed since last year! Bummer. We had a perfectly fine meal at Rock Bottom Brewery instead, and then headed over to the Diana Jones Awards. I hadn't planned to stay out as late as I did but it was great to see people, many of whom I haven't seen in years. I laughed myself to tears multiple times during the night.

I planned to meet Pramas with his room key and badge this morning before going over to set up the cash register, which I didn't get around to yesterday. Unfortunately, Pramas is still stranded in Detroit (a story for him to tell). When I arrived to set up the cash register, I found that the key no longer turns on some of the necessary functions (such as reports and tax programming) and so I must run out to find a new one. The hall opens in half an hour.... I've found a Staples not too far from the hotel and typed this while waiting on hold to find out if they had cash registers in stock. They do! Yay. Here I go!